Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Gourmand: Food, Sex and Perfume

"Flowers are for funerals" explained one perfumista when confronted with the question as to why she doesn't like Floral perfumes. Many young people, like my friend, scoff at the idea of wearing anything flowery; perfume is no exception. But give her anything that smells like dessert--she's there. Gourmand, or foody perfumes, are the most popular perfumes among the new generation of fragrance aficionados. Fragrances such as Thierry Mugler Angel, Aquolina Pink Sugar, Serendipity 3 Serendipitous, MOR Pistachio, Ralph Lauren Ralph Hot and Demeter Brownie are classified as Gourmand, the newest subgenre of the smoldering and sensual Oriental fragrance family. Oriental perfumes are base-heavy blends which contain vanilla, resins, amber and spices in large quantities; Gourmand emphasizes "edible" notes such as vanilla, chocolate, almond, fruits, maple syrup and pralines, all resulting in blends that literally smell more like gourmet than perfume...at least if you're a lover of conventional Floral perfumes like myself.

I do love Gourmand; in fact my own perfume creation, Pink Manhattan PURRFUME, can be considered Gourmand because it contains French Vanilla which, when combined with succulent peach and flirty tropical florals, creates a sweet and sensual blend that's (almost) good enough to eat. However, PM also contains equal amounts of fruity, floral and green notes, taking it out of the "strictly dessert" ballpark and leaving the impression of being more Fruity Floral than Gourmand. You might smell PM and feel differently. Anyway, Gourmand is among my favorite fragrance families and I have many personal favorites in this genre such as Molinard Vanille, a straightforward vanilla on a bold, woodsy base, and Comptoir Sud Pacifique Tiare, a fabulously hedonistic blend of island flowers, sweet vanilla and a tasteful, subtle touch of coconut.

Associations are everything when it comes to perfume; while some people associate flowers with funerals, flowers make others think of timeless elegance and romance. While many regard Gourmand as sexy scents (chocolate = sinful, perhaps, or the idea of being pampered itself can be very sexy), still others regard them as comfort scents that have nothing to do with sex. I think of Gourmand first and foremost as a young and rebellious scent type. To me, Gourmand is definitely non-traditional and it's what I love about them. I also feel that Gourmands aren't meant to be taken too seriously (Maybe they're not office scents, although they could be)--the bottom line is that they're fun scents that make me feel scrumptious! Next time you come across a tester of Pink Sugar at a mall, give it a try--dessert is for anyone to enjoy, and you may find that sweets are even more fun to wear than to eat.